It’s tough, getting back into the swing of writing. When last we left, I was talking about television. (And would you believe that now, I have been THREE DAYS without television? More on this in a moment.)
Anyway, if you recall last year was kind of an epic fail, and last fall wasn’t just my best time ever. Sure there was wine and animals and whatnot, but deep down, I was dealing with Some Stuff. Apparently, Grief didn’t get the message that I WAS DONE WITH IT, and I had to work through it and honestly the thought of a blog post EXHAUSTED me. And if more self-analysis exhausted me, good Lord it would have made you lose your will to live.
Last year shook my faith down to its core. For the first time EVER, I wondered if there was a God, and began to think about what it might look like if there wasn’t and then what does it all mean, and blah blah blah we all listened to REM back in the 90s, I think we’re done here. And then the fact that I was even asking these questions made me feel horrible, and so I talked to some amazing people who listened. They didn’t react by judging or condemning, they didn’t try to “pray me back into the fold”. They let me talk (which, shockingly, is how I think…) and they told me hard things. They listened to hard things I had to say. Without flinching. And I am so exceptionally grateful. (And I don’t mean “hard things” in the sense that they were judgments or ultimatums, just that they were things that while undoubtedly true, are hard things to say.) And I thought, and I cried, and I prayed, and I let myself be numb, and I let myself not think about this, and in the end, what my friend M said made so much sense. And it explained so much. He told me that “faith, any faith, involves risk, Lauren”. I had to be willing to take a risk if I wanted faith.
(Side note: Because I’m me, I asked M for a plan, steps I could take to get my faith back–the way it was before. I wanted it, I NEEDED it back. Give me a checklist and some steps, let’s light this candle. Firmly in the category of “hard things to say” was his answer of, “I don’t think it comes back, Lauren. I think, wherever you end up, this changes you.” At the time, it devastated me. I thought that meant that I wouldn’t be able to get God back. That I could never believe again. But sometimes we have to hear hard things, devastating things, to get to the other side of a struggle.) (Which sounds like a total Blog Platitude, trademark pending, but I really mean that. I’d unpack it a bit more for you, but lord this is already long and gauzy enough, isn’t it?)
Anyway, thinking about last year, how so much was taken from me so suddenly, it shouldn’t surprise that things involving risk? Well I went the opposite way from them. I’m getting better. I still worry and think and pre-plan for so many things that “could” happen, “might” happen. When I call mom’s name and I don’t hear an answer, I still run to her, heart in my knees, KNOWING… (Which is a totally healthy and normal response so I’m not working on that AT ALL…) But I’m willing to risk again.
And I think where I ended up was that faith cannot become complacent. At least mine. Mine will always be contouring itself. When I think about Things Larger Than Myself, WHAT I believe may not change, but the way it looks in my mind may very well do so. And I cannot possibly be so bold as to say that my mind’s eye is any more correct than yours. And that’s as much as I’ve got. So M was right-my faith doesn’t come back the way it was before. It is changed. And I am no longer devastated by that.
I go through all of the above exercise not only to prove, yet again, my manifold neuroses. But also to tell you what I went through. Grief and loss are HELL. They are lonely. They settle into the folds of your brain and hang out there, for a LONG time. And they do weird things. Different things, to everybody. And I hope should you find yourself in their company at some time, you will be gentle with yourself. Give yourself much grace. And no. No they are not temporary. They are shadows that will be with you for the duration. But I promise that they do get lighter.
Anyway, in case you hadn’t seen them, I’ll close with a pic of Brix and Backus (aka, “The Reason I Haven’t Seen TV In Three Days”).
(Good grief, these are the most recent pictures I’ve uploaded onto my computer. The rest are still trapped in my camera and on my phone. At any rate-these are my very first pictures of them, taken when they were one day old. They are now over 10 weeks old, and obviously huge.)
(The pseudonym was old, right?)